pool party

Nothing's better than a pool party during these hot summer days. Photo: Corbis

Pool parties are among the more stressful of summer's sartorial challenges. Unless you're on spring break, few of us are thrilled by the idea of socializing in swimwear. And certainly not in an uber-tiny string bikini. Be practical and balance style with functionality in a timeless suit, a colorful cover-up, and one or two choice accessories.

Style tips:
  • The suit: We selected this classic one-piece for the ruching and forgiving nylon-lycra blend that will camouflage potentially problematic belly areas. Plus black never goes out of style and looks great even against those of us that have never seen this side of a tan. It's also a great building block piece that looks as chic in exotic far flung locales as it does paddling with the kids at the local pool.
  • The cover-up: For pool parties, we like the idea of adding a sense of occasion with a fun print. Trina Turk makes some of our favorites, like this vibrant tunic. Other great cover-up options? An menswear-inspired shirt dress (add a summer hat and a chic belt to dress up the look).
  • The shoes: Embellished sandals are a great way to feel a bit more put together without risking injury on a slippery pool deck in stilettos. And they are also dressier than your traditional flip-flop!
  • The shades: Every summer brings new trends in sunglasses: the Clubmasters, the Wayfarers, those ridiculous Kanye West shutter shades. But nothing beats a classic pair of oversized tortoise shell shades. They're a little poolside touch of Hollywood glamour that will never go out of style.